OFW NURSE FROM PAMPANGA: CITATION HELPS EASE PAIN OF YEMEN VICTIM'S PARENTS

DECEMBER 15 -Yemeni President Abdo Rabbo Hadi’s gesture declaring as “martyrs” the seven Filipinos who died in a terrorist attack in his country has eased the pain of the parents of one of the victims. Jaime David, father of Marianne David, a nurse in Yemen who was among the fatalities in the assault last Dec. 5, said the declaration has given meaning and significance to the life of his daughter. “She died serving as a nurse. The body of Marianne, 22, has yet to be flown back from Yemen. Two female nurses from the Philippines were among 52 people who died after a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-packed car into the Yemeni defense ministry complex Thursday, followed by an armed assault. The attacks in the capital and in the south have generally been blamed on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which the United States regards as the jihadist network’s most dangerous branch. READ FULL STORY IN 2 REPORTS BELOW.

ALSO:  CHINA ON THEIR MIND: Japan, Asean celebrate 40 years of ties

TOKYO—Southeast Asian nations welcome Japan’s efforts to nurture closer security
cooperation, given China’s growing assertiveness, though they hope the two powers will mend their frayed ties, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Friday. “It must be said that good relations between China and Japan are critical to the future of our region,” Yudhoyono told a gathering on the sidelines of a summit marking 40 years of ties between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). Tokyo sent aid and rescue missions after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) plowed through central Philippines on Nov. 8, killing more than 6,000 people and displacing 4.1 million. It plans to pledge $287 million more in support to the Philippines: a 10-billion-yen ($100-million) loan and another loan of about $187 million to pay for vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard, said Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Raul Hernandez.   Those contributions have dwarfed the more than $2 million pledged by China.

ALSO: PH warship now patrolling sea off Palawan

The Philippines’ second warship, BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), has arrived in Palawan province for what military officials described as a “routine patrol” of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). “This is a routine mission… She will stay here on the side of Sulu Sea,” said Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, commander of the military’s Western Command based in Palawan. Deveraturda refused to discuss the Alcaraz’ specific mission in Palawan, except to say that it is its duty “to patrol (the Philippines’) sovereign waters.”
The Alcaraz had traveled to Palawan from Tacloban City where it was deployed, along with its sister ship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15), for a humanitarian mission following the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.” The Del Pilar remains in the typhoon-ravaged area while the Alcaraz arrived in Palawan last Tuesday.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

Citation helps ease pain of Yemen victim’s parents


Marianne David’s parents pose beside her graduation photo in their home in Guagua, Pampanga yesterday. DING CERVANTES

GUAGUA, PAMPANGA, DECEMBER 16, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Ding Cervantes and Ric Sapnu - Yemeni President Abdo Rabbo Hadi’s gesture declaring as “martyrs” the seven Filipinos who died in a terrorist attack in his country has eased the pain of the parents of one of the victims.

Jaime David, father of Marianne David, a nurse in Yemen who was among the fatalities in the assault last Dec. 5, said the declaration has given meaning and significance to the life of his daughter.

“She died serving as a nurse. She died with a mission to help her sibling through school,” Jaime told The STAR yesterday in their home in Barangay San Agustin here.

The body of Marianne, 22, has yet to be flown back from Yemen.

“There was no premonition at all that she would leave us, although two weeks before she was killed, her Facebook account seemed to have been deactivated. Facebook was our major means of communication,” said Evangeline, Marianne’s mother.

But Jaime said it could have been because Marianne wanted to surprise them since she was supposed to come home for a vacation this December.

Marianne’s friends in Yemen said she already had a plane ticket to the Philippines with her flight scheduled on Dec. 23.

She had also packed all her baggage, they said.

Jaime said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has assured them that they would receive all the benefits due them.

Focused on family

Jaime and Evangeline described their daughter as “good, loving, and helpful.”

“She has remained single because she vowed to be celibate and instead devote her life to helping her siblings and other people. Before she left for Yemen, she was a Red Cross volunteer,” Jaime said.

Marianne finished a nursing course at the Bataan Polytechnic College.

EARLIER INQUIRER REPORT

2 Filipino nurses among 52 dead in Yemen attack Agence France-Presse 8:38 am | Friday, December 6th, 2013


This photo provided by Yemen’s Defense Ministry shows damaged vehicles after an explosion at the Defense Ministry complex in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden car Thursday at Yemen’s Defense Ministry, killing 52 people. AP PHOTO/YEMEN’S DEFENSE MINISTRY

SANAA—Two female nurses from the Philippines were among 52 people who died after a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-packed car into the Yemeni defense ministry complex Thursday, followed by an armed assault.

Earlier, a medic at the hospital had said six doctors—a Venezuelan, two Filipinos and three Yemenis—were killed.
The brazen daylight attack on the sprawling facility followed a spate of hit-and-run strikes on military personnel and officials, as the country struggles to complete a thorny political transition.

The attacks in the capital and in the south have generally been blamed on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which the United States regards as the jihadist network’s most dangerous branch.

“This terrorist act has killed 52 people,” Yemen’s supreme security committee said.

Two doctors from Germany, two from Vietnam and another from Yemen were killed, as well as two female nurses from the Philippines and one from India, said the statement carried by Saba news agency.

They all worked at a hospital within the complex that bore the brunt of the attack.

All the other “martyrs” were civilians and military personnel in the hospital, including a top Yemeni judge and his wife, the committee statement said.

And 167 people were wounded, nine of them seriously.

“A car bomb driven by a suicide bomber forced its way into the western entrance of the ministry complex,” a security official told AFP.

“It was followed by another car whose occupants opened fire at the complex of buildings,” he said.

The attack cames as Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser headed a military delegation on a visit to the United States.

The ministry said gunmen occupied the hospital after the explosion, but that security forces had regained control of the building.

“The assailants took advantage of some construction work that is taking place to carry out this criminal act,” it said, without elaborating.

A security source said that, in another apparently coordinated attack, a gunfight raged outside the complex after the explosion, before government forces regained control and cordoned off the area.

State television aired gory footage of mangled bodies of what it said were suicide bombers, strewn in the hospital yard amid charred vehicles.

It also showed massive destruction within the hospital, whose floors were stained with blood.

Appeals for blood donors

The channel broadcast appeals for blood donors to come to hospitals treating the wounded.

Smoke billowed across the complex on the edge of Baba al-Yaman neighbourhood after the blast and as the firefight erupted.

“I heard a series of explosions, and then an exchange of fire,” a wounded soldier told AFP.

President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi visited the hospital where his 90-year-old brother, Ahmed, was apparently an in-patient.

Yemen has been going through a difficult political transition since veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh stood down in February 2012 after a year of deadly protests against his 33-year rule.

The transitional process aims to produce a new constitution, paving the way for parliamentary and presidential elections in February, but many hurdles remain.

There are growing demands for the secession of the formerly independent south, in addition to on-off fighting in the north between Shiite Muslim rebels and hardline Sunnis.

A national dialogue that began in March and was originally due wrap up in September has yet to conclude.

“The terrorists behind this heinous crime aim to shake the security of Yemen… and hinder the political solution,” said Abdullatif al-Zayani, secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which brokered Saleh’s exit deal.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, whose special envoy Jamal Benomar has been shuttling between the rival sides trying to get the national dialogue back on track, condemned the attacks “in the strongest terms.”

“The secretary general firmly believes that the only path to a stable, prosperous and democratic Yemen is through the ongoing peaceful and all-inclusive national dialogue conference,” a statement said.

Yemen is also battling AQAP, which often attacks the security forces, despite suffering setbacks in a major army offensive last year and repeated US drone strikes on its commanders.

Last week, in an attempt to halt hit-and-run attacks, the authorities imposed a temporary ban on motorbikes in Sanaa to prevent shootings that have killed dozens of officials.

Last week, two gunmen on a bike killed a Belarussian defense contractor and wounded another.—Hammoud Mounassar

FROM THE INQUIRER

CHINA ON THEIR MIND: Japan, Asean celebrate 40 years of ties Associated Press 2:33 am | Saturday, December 14th, 2013


http://globalnation.inquirer.net/files/2013/12/Susilo-Bambang-Yudhoyono-shinzo-Abe.jpg
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. AP FILE PHOTOS

TOKYO—Southeast Asian nations welcome Japan’s efforts to nurture closer security cooperation, given China’s growing assertiveness, though they hope the two powers will mend their frayed ties, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Friday.

“It must be said that good relations between China and Japan are critical to the future of our region,” Yudhoyono told a gathering on the sidelines of a summit marking 40 years of ties between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Yudhoyono urged all involved to build more trust, throughout both northeast Asia, where China and Japan are bickering over islands claimed by both in the East China Sea, and in the South China Sea and the West Philippine Sea, where several countries face disputes with China.

Although Indonesia is not involved, it “is deeply concerned at the prospect of those erupting into open conflict,” Yudhoyono said.

Nurturing closer ties with Southeast Asia, an increasingly affluent, resource-rich region of more than 600 million people, has been one of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s top foreign policy priorities since he took office nearly a year ago.

In a year of whirlwind diplomacy that had him crisscrossing the globe, Abe visited all 10 Asean countries at least once.

China’s increasingly assertive stance in the region has advanced that courtship, while soothing any backlash across Southeast Asia against Japan’s own rising military profile.

Japanese officials describe the security situation in its East Asian neighborhood as “severe” and “rapidly deteriorating.”

The Philippines has joined in protesting China’s declaration of a maritime air defense zone over the East China Sea, and in objecting to the possibility Beijing might establish a similar zone over the West Philippine Sea, whose waters overlap with the South China Sea.

“China is challenging the balance of power,” said Ding Xueliang, a China expert at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “They could do something that might even be a game changer.”

Like China and the Koreas, much of Southeast Asia also suffered Japanese occupation during World War II. Until recently many remained openly wary over the potential for a resurgence of Japanese militarism.

Even Yudhoyono’s vigorous endorsement of Japan’s proactive stance was tempered with caution.

“In our view, it is important that Japan’s larger security role is pursued gradually, in a transparent manner and in ways that would strengthen international security, regional order and enhance confidence building,” he said.

Abe and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak met on Thursday and agreed to extend cooperation in maritime security, including military personnel.

Japan has been stepping up economic cooperation and investment across Southeast Asia, especially since 2012, when anti-Japanese riots flared in China after Tokyo nationalized a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that are also claimed by Beijing.

In the first six months of this year, Japanese investment in Southeast Asia jumped 89 percent to nearly 1 trillion yen ($9.7 billion) and automakers and electronics companies expanded their factories in the region.

The summit will also showcase Japanese support for projects across the region, including loans to support subway and power line projects in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.

Tokyo sent aid and rescue missions after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) plowed through central Philippines on Nov. 8, killing more than 6,000 people and displacing 4.1 million.

It plans to pledge $287 million more in support to the Philippines: a 10-billion-yen ($100-million) loan and another loan of about $187 million to pay for vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard, said Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Raul Hernandez.

Those contributions have dwarfed the more than $2 million pledged by China.

PH warship now patrolling sea off Palawan By Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:15 am | Friday, December 13th, 2013


The BRP Ramon Alcaraz. US EMBASSY FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines’ second warship, BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), has arrived in Palawan province for what military officials described as a “routine patrol” of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“This is a routine mission… She will stay here on the side of Sulu Sea,” said Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, commander of the military’s Western Command based in Palawan.

Deveraturda refused to discuss the Alcaraz’ specific mission in Palawan, except to say that it is its duty “to patrol (the Philippines’) sovereign waters.”

The Alcaraz had traveled to Palawan from Tacloban City where it was deployed, along with its sister ship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15), for a humanitarian mission following the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”
The Del Pilar remains in the typhoon-ravaged area while the Alcaraz arrived in Palawan last Tuesday.

Navy spokesman Lt. Commander Gregory Fabic said in a separate interview that the Alcaraz will patrol the WesCom area of responsibility, including the Kalayaan Island Group and “some parts of the West Philippine Sea.”

“PF 16 will be safeguarding critical infrastructure in Palawan like the Malampaya gas platform. [Both the] PF-16 and the Del Pilar class are suited for high seas such as the West Philippine Sea. That’s where they are really intended because they are huge ships,” Fabic said.

Fabic said the Del Pilar is “more often” deployed to the Subic area in Zambales province.

He said it would be likely that the Philippines’ only two recently acquired warships would be deployed either in the Western Command or Northern Luzon Command areas.

Both commands have jurisdiction over the disputed territories between the Philippines and China.

China is claiming ownership of the Scarborough Shoal, off Zambales province, as well as the Ayungin shoals in the Kalayaan Island Group, near Palawan, both of which are within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

The Philippines sought arbitration by the United Nations in a bid to resolve the territorial row but China has refused to participate, insisting on a bilateral discussion.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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